As time marches closer to the Assembly Appropriations committee hearing of SB649, a groundswell of opposition is mounting. As of August 21st, over 271 cities and towns, 47 counties, 47 planning and municipal organizations, and 53 environment, health, consumer, and justice organizations have opposed the bill. Scientists and doctors have also been speaking out. Dr. Joel Moskowitz, Professor of Public Health at University of California Berkeley and Director of the Center for Family and Community Health has written extensively about hazards of electromagnetic radiation on SaferEMR.com and has recently published a letter by UC San Diego Professor of Medicine, Dr. Beatrice Golomb on his research page. Dr. Golomb begins with the following statement:
I urge in the strongest terms that you vigorously oppose California SB 649. If this bill passes, many people will suffer greatly, and needlessly, as a direct result. This sounds like hyperbole. It is not.
My research group at UC San Diego alone has received hundreds of communications from people who have developed serious health problems from electromagnetic radiation, following introduction of new technologies. Others with whom I am in communication, have independently received hundreds of similar reports. Most likely these are a tip of an iceberg of tens or perhaps hundreds of thousands of affected people. As each new technology that leads to further electromagnetic radiation exposure is introduced — and particularly introduced in a fashion that prevents vulnerable individuals from avoiding it — a new group becomes sensitized. This is particularly true for pulsed signals in the radiowave and microwave portion of the spectrum, the type that the proposed Bill SB.649 will promote.
Mechanisms by which health effects are exerted have been shown to include oxidative stress (the type of injury against which antioxidants protect (see optional section below), damage to mitochondria (the energy producing parts of cells), damage to cell membranes1,21, an impaired blood-brain barrier3-5 (the blood brain barrier defends the brain against introduction of foreign substances and toxins; additionally, disruption can lead to brain edema6), constriction of blood vessels and impaired blood flow to the brain7, and triggering of autoimmune reactions8,9.”…
[To read the full letter, click on this link or the image below.]
The California Alliance for Safer Technology also cites health and safety hazards with the pending deployments, highlighting the research of Martin Pall, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry and Basic Medical Sciences at Washington State University.
“Dr. Pall is an expert in how wireless radiation impacts the electrical systems in our bodies. He explains wireless emissions disrupt the electromagnetics of each cell, impacting one aspect of the cell, the voltage sensor, with a force over 7 million times compared other parts of the same cell. The FCC guidelines for microwave radiation consider only potential heating effects from the radiation, but not the electromagnetic effects, he says.
In a Letter to Legislators, Dr. Pall said, “It would be a disaster for the health of Californians to be exposed to the antennas envisioned in SB.649.” Pall says, “Thousands of published studies show biological and health effects from electromagnetic fields. We now know the mechanism that can explain these effects…The EMFs put forces on the voltage sensor that controls the VGCCs (Voltage-Gated Calcium Channels) of about 7.2 million times greater than the forces on other charged groups in our cells. This is why weak EMFs have such large biological effects on the cells of our bodies.” Accompanying Dr. Pall’s Letter to CA Legislators are references to 134 Scientific Reviews, each of which “provides from 12 to over a thousand individual citations showing health impacts of low intensity EMFs, EMFs that the telecommunications industry claims cannot have such effects.”
Dr. Pall says, “higher frequency electromagnetic fields from 5G technologies on the horizon pose even greater biological concern than those to which we are exposed today.” He says the human species faces extinction risk due to the DNA mutations known to be already occurring, and that “further increases in exposures will be more rapidly self-destructive.”
Several other states have similar legislation in process, whereby utility poles, street lamps and other municipal infrastructure would be leased to wireless companies at cut rates for placement of small cell, high-frequency antennas, densely placed throughout neighborhoods, as often as every few houses.
Over 200 California cities, major CA newspapers, the AARP and the California Alliance for Safer Technology, an alliance of health and environmental advocacy groups, are opposed to SB.649, and for a myriad of reasons, including the usurpation of local government authority over municipal infrastructure, economic and financial concerns, privacy considerations due to pervasive antennas, liability for data misuse, real estate devaluation, aesthetics, historic preservation, environmental risks, and the health and DNA risks addressed in Dr. Pall’s letter to legislators.
Related legislation, S.19, the “Making Opportunities for Broadband Investment and Limiting Excessive and Needless Obstacles to Wireless Act,” or the Mobile Now Act, which passed the U.S. Senate August 3, 2017 and has been sent to the House, similarly seeks to facilitate pervasive transmitting antennas throughout the Unites States on behalf of the wireless industry, including the use of federal infrastructure, antennas Dr. Pall advises against.
“We should be moving, instead, to wired technologies at every opportunity, based on what we know in science today, not expanding and supporting the proliferation of wireless,” says Dr. Pall.”
National Institute for Science, Law & Public Policy
Camilla Rees, MBA, 415-992-5093
Senior Policy Advisor
The League of California Cities has also documented widespread opposition and includes on their site an extensive list of articles that have been written to halt the bill. The following summary is provided:
This proposal represents a major shift in telecommunications policy and law by 1) requiring local governments to lease out the public’s property; 2) cap how much cities can lease this space out for, eliminate the ability for cities to negotiate public benefits; 3) the public’s input and full discretionary review in all communities of the state except for areas in coastal zones and historic districts, for the installation of “small cell” wireless equipment.
As amended, the bill is no longer limited to just “small cells.” SB 649 now applies broadly to all telecommunications providers and the equipment they use from “micro-wireless” to “small cell” to “macro-towers.” It’s clear from the direction of this bill, that the intent is not about 5G wireless deployment, but rather local deregulation of the entire telecommunications industry. This latest version places a new ban on city/county regulation of placement or operation of “communication facilities” within and outside the public right of way far beyond “small cells.” This new language would extend local preemption of regulation to any “provider authorized by state law to operate in the rights of way,” which can include communications facilities installed for services such as gas, electric, and water, leaving cities and counties with limited oversight only over “small cells.”
Despite the wireless industry’s claim that the equipment would be “small” in their attempt to justify this special permitting and price arrangement solely for their industry, the bill would allow for antennas as large as six cubic feet, equipment boxes totaling 35 cubic feet (larger than previous bill version of 21 cubic feet), with no size or quantity limitations for the following equipment: electric meters, pedestals, concealment elements, demarcation boxes, grounding equipment, power transfer switches, and cutoff switches.”